If somebody wants to explore Transylvania there is no other way than with a car. This is what we did. Coming from Greece and after a stop in the famous Matka canyon in North Macedonia and spending three days in the beautiful capital of Romania, Bucharest, we drove until Brasov in order to find out more about this gem of Transylvania and its surroundings.
Brasov has more or less 270 thousand citizens and is 187 kilometers From Bucharest. From the moment that you will approach the historical center of the city, you will realize the rich history of the area. Brasov was highly developed by the German settlers who were invited from the Hungarian kings in order to deploy the mines and cultivate the land of Transylvania.
The was originally named in 1235 Corona and by the years was changed taking the name of the river Birsa (barasu in Turkish means white water) and the Serbian suffix -ov into Brasov.
If you make the wise decision to visit this wonderful city of Transylvania read our post of where to stay in Brasov!
1. Explore Brasov starting from Piata Sfatului, Council Square
The first thing that we do in every destination, especially if this is a city, is to put our most comfortable shoes and start walking around. This time, the starting point is Piata Sfatului the historical center of Brasov with the 13th-century clock tower
You can feel the medieval vibes of a city with a modern outlook! Modern shops which are in line with the character of the old city. You can enjoy a takeaway coffee sitting in one of the benches, or you can enter in one of the several graphical coffee shops, many times hidden in small narrow streets right and left of the pedestrian area.
2. Visit the Biserica Neagra, Black Church
The Black Church dedicated to Santa Maria was built in the 14th century. It is one of the very rare gothic buildings in Romania and the most important place of Lutheran places of worship in the area.
A very spooky story, or let’s say a myth, is hidden behind the walls of the Black church. It talks about a German boy that was irritating the Bulgarian workers during the construction of the church. One of them pushed the boy from the church tower and he hide its corpse in the church.
3. Strada Sforii, one of the narrowest streets in Europe
It is 80 meters long, so IT IS a street :-), and 111cm to 135cm width. It was first mentioned in the 17th century in architecture documents and its initial purpose was as a corridor for firemen!
4. Visit the Peles Castle in Sinaia
On the way to Brasov from Bucharest, you have to choose on your GPS the road that passes from Sinaia. Just 45 kilometers away from Brasov is Peles Castle. The Peles Castle construction works took place from 1873 to 1914. It was the same era that Romania got independent from the Ottoman Empire and King was Carol I of Romania. The plan of King Carol I was to build a palace that is totally unique compared to the rest of the time and that’s why he declined several architectures before the German Johannes Schultz takes the project.
The Peles Castle is a palatial alpine castle which combines several European styles along Renaissance lines. You will feel the Italian elegance, the German aesthetics and for sure you will notice the Greek sculptures of Artemis in the balcony. The total cost of Peles Castle was approximately 110 million euros while people of many different nationalities contributed to the project. German, Italians, Romanians, Gypsies, Greeks, Albanians, Polish, and Chech were some of them.
5. The Bran Castle or otherwise, the Dracula’s Castle
Just 30 kilometers from Brasov you will find the, as advertised, Castle of Dracula or also known as the Bran Castle. Even there are not enough proofs that Dracula stayed there you have to visit it as it comes with great history due to its location. Bran Castle had the ability to control the pass between Transylvania and Wallachia and had high military importance.
Today is one of the top attractions in Romania with visitors all around the world. The scenery reminds medieval movies and the interior is a live museum.
Outside of Bran Castle, there is an open market and barbeque with delicious local sausages and cheeses. Do not hesitate to try! They were amazing!
It would be a very good idea to visit Bran Castle with a tour guide in order to get the most of it.
6. The Rasnov Fortress
Romania is full of castles and one of them is The Rasnov Fortress. A castle that was protecting the city of Brasov and the Transylvania villages, from invasions coming from the pass of Bran. It is believed that a great treasure is hidden in it and if you ask the locals, especially the elderly, the will have to tell you stories.
In order to go to the Fortress, when you will arrive at the base, you have to buy a ticket and either you go up on foot or a tractor!
7. Taste the Kurtos kalacs
Do not even think about leaving from Brasov without tasting Kurtoskalacs sweet. We cannot describe it we just have to say that it is delicious!!!